art, hiking and trails, nature

Shotpouch Creek Cabin // Trillium Project Retreat

We were given the amazing opportunity to spend a weekend out at Shotpouch Cabin through the OSU Spring Creek Project and their Trillium Project. As their Trillium mission states:

The Trillium Project is a residency program that focuses on the Cabin and the Shotpouch land. The Cabin is a lovely cedar and glass retreat on 45 acres of forest and meadows in the Coast Range near Burnt Woods, and it is the location for many Spring Creek events and writers-in-residency programs. The Cabin is also an idea, a set of values, a nature reserve, and a work in progress. We are inviting proposals from people with a variety of backgrounds and interests—artists, botanists, biologists, writers, musicians, philosophers, etc.—to study and write about the Shotpouch place itself, its history or philosophy or bird species or wildflowers or mosses or limnology or trout or soundscape.

Our vision for the Project is that people will come and go from the Cabin, exploring the creek, meadows, and upland forests, encountering new people and new ideas as they go about their explorations. Our hope is that as people find inspiration and information in this special place, they will also find interest in their encounters with others who are equally involved with the land. And so people will create passing collaborations, share their perspectives and expertise, and learn to see the land through a variety of eyes.

And it was just that — a place for us to retreat, find inspiration through nature, collect our creative thoughts, and let the music flow.

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I worked on recording the wildflowers currently in bloom, both through my photography and in writing. I also did some pressings to complement the work. It was a great way to learn new species and work on my id’ing skills by comparing the flowers or plants to the families I am familiar with. It was amazing to see the abundance of fern and I enjoyed exploring the area for all the different varieties. I just planted quite a few fern in our shaded garden and am looking forward to having a friendly fern feature!


Bleeding heart (Dicentra formosa) covered the forest floor. It was everywhere and so delicately beautiful, yet so strong and hardy!


I took some samples of either Lady fern or Wood fern although I can’t quite remember which at the moment. They are similar and both so gorgeous. I think one of the reasons I think they are so pretty is that they don’t have last years fronds remaining on the plant, like the sword fern. So they are green green green and beautiful! I ended up presses a few of the fronds, along with some Maidenhair.

Northern Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum pedatum) was probably my favorite fern of the bunch. I think maybe because its delicate midnight-colored stalk and the unique, fan-like fronds.

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Sylvan found his creative outlet in the workshop. He collected fell wood and used our wood carving tools to creative some beautiful sculptures and some small keepers of the forest that he placed along the path. They were quite amazing and hopefully they will be enjoyed by those who cross their path. His handiwork  just comes so naturally. I am ever amazed by his skills and talents of building and working with his hands. It reminds me of Michelangelo’s inspirational words as a sculptor:

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.

I am guessing that is exactly what Sylvan sees and does.

Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.


There was so much moss and lichen that I quickly became interested in trying to id all of the different varieties! It is amazing how many species can be in one small section of space. And lucky for me, the cabin was stocked with identification books of almost anything you wanted to identify in the area.

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We collected a bounty of stinging nettle for our evening dinners. It ran rampant across the front field which, I guess with all of the nettle, it was no longer open… We were only able to find one glove, so Sylvan took on the task of collecting while I held the bag (for part of the time..until I got carried away with photo taking…)

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I fell in love with the Western Meadow-rue (Thalictrum occidentale) and its tiny dangles of purple stigmas. When a light wind would come through, blowing at the tendrils, the stigmas reminded me of jelly fish tentacles dancing through the water.

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The Red elderberry, Sambucus racemosa was loaded with white flower clusters.


Smith’s fairybell, Disporum smithii — I only saw these once or twice, so we shared some special moments. 🙂


We had an amazing three days at Shotpouch and I would recommend to those interested in a creative retreat, this is an amazing opportunity. Read more about it on Oregon State’s Spring Creek Project webpage.



art hiking and trails nature

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